Are you contemplating starting a home-based business or working from home?
Having a new baby is often the impetus for a mom to look into working from home. A home-based job usually offers lots of perks for parents– perhaps flexible hours, part-time work, no commute. But working from home also brings a lot of challenges.
Whether you’re continuing on in your current job from home or you’re starting up a new venture working from home, be prepared for a lot of changes.
Here are 9 questions to ask yourself first.
- Do I have a good place to work? Is there room for me to work comfortably? Do I need to receive clients at home? Is it quiet? (Some of you work-at-home moms are laughing hysterically right now.)
- What will my kids do while I’m working? Moms often think they can work while their kids are sleeping. While naptime or quiet time can be highly productive, you might not get as much of it as you think. But if you’re creative, here’s how to find the time to work at home – up to 25 hours a week.
- Am I disciplined enough to stay productive and meet my obligations and goals? What routines and structures can I put into place to help me stay on track and accountable? I’m using a different kind of to-do list to help me stay on track daily.
- How can I stay plugged in professionally? Regular office time? I meet up regularly via Google Hangout with some blogger colleagues. It gives me some much-needed adult conversation as well as a great way to stay plugged in to my professional network and my industry.
- What will my office hours be? Lots of work-at-home moms end up burning the candle at both ends. This may be necessary for a time, but it’s not a great long term strategy.
- What are some potential distractions for me at home and how can I make sure they don’t sabotage my work time? Is it dishes? Laundry? The phone or the doorbell? Do some brainstorming ahead of time to decide how you’ll handle these potential roadblocks. You don’t want to miss a deadline because you feel bad about not answering the phone.
- Are you naturally organized and if not, what systems do you need in place to help your work stay productive and profitable? Staying organized with paperwork is a particularly important area.
- What’s the dress code? Do you want to keep things “professional” at home or are you comfortable with a more casual atmosphere? I find I’m much more productive after I’ve showered and gotten dressed. I just can’t work in my PJs. But some people find that a major benefit of working from home. Think about your preferences and take some time to plan your schedule accordingly.
- What is your plan if this doesn’t work out? Maybe your baby just doesn’t nap. Or your boss needs you in the office more than you would like. What will you do if you need to make a change? If your work-at-home job starts to make you or your family miserable, what changes will you make?
I didn’t actually intend to become a work-at-home mom, but once my first son was born, managing a commute and childcare on little sleep was overwhelming to me. I started working form home 2 days a week. I went from that full-time job to a more flexible part-time telecommuting job, and from there to running my own e-commerce business.
In all, I’ve been working from home for most of the last 15 years. It’s a big shock to go from a corporate office to a home office (or the kitchen table!), but oh so worth it!
Working from home advice from others
I asked a few friends what questions they wish they’d asked before they started working from home. Here’s what they said.
Lydia from http://www.five4fivemeals.com/
What methods are you going to put in place to protect your working hours and your nonworking hours?
Bridget Childress from Becoming a Godly Wife
How would I actually find time to have a break?
Dani Schnakenberg from Danischnakenberg.com
Will I be able to properly separate myself from work? It took over almost two years before I figured that part out and it wasn’t great for my parenting or my marriage because my work life didn’t have boundaries.
Alicia Myers from The Sensible Family
Even though my family encourages me, will they understand the demands and hours in the future?
Sarah O’Neal Macri
Are you sure multitasking is helpful and healthy?
Kristen Miller from Practical Mommy
Do I have the physical space to work from my home? If not, will I be mentally and physically comfortable working at the kitchen table or the couch or whereever it may be? It might be ok for an hour or two a day but is this the set up that will allow me to do my best day after day? Www. Practicalmommy.com
Jennifer Carr from Eat Pray Adopt
How drastically will it impact my commitment to my family? My kids didn’t ask me to start a new venture.
Ann Karako from Annie and Everything
How much time am I willing or should I devote to this?” I am finding that it is taking LOTS more time than I anticipated… thinking maybe if I had delineated it more in the beginning, it wouldn’t be taking over my life now… lol.
Are you going to make this a long term business?
Working from home is a dream come true for a lot of moms.
If this is your dream, set yourself up for success before you jump in.